Writing the Perfect Thank You Note

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Writing the perfect thank you noteWritten thank you notes and letters seem to becoming rarer and rarer but they should still be sent.  

While thank you letters were once considered the social norm for anyone who had the smallest amount of manners now many people think that a quick thanks over the shoulder seems to be sufficient. 

With the ease and convenience of e-mail it is simple to send out a thank you but there are times that you really should send a written note.  

Every one likes to be thank, whether it is for a gift or a action and it only takes a few minutes to do it. With a few tips and tricks you will be sending out thank you notes with grace and confidence and make people remember you as someone who has style.

Thank you notes are not only sent out when you receive a gift but also when some one does a kindness for you or your family. If you are sending a casual thank you to a friend or a colleague then a e-mail is sufficient. These would be the thanks you would give if they had given you a quick piece of advise or treated you to a casual luncheon.

Thanks for giving me the heads up on the new schedule, this is going to save me a ton of time and worry. You were right as always,

Thanks again, Cindy

Hi Jill,
Thanks for lunch! It was great to catch up and find out all the latest gossip. I know we always say this but we really do have to do it more often. Next lunch is on me.

Love Kate

But there are times that the kindness is done during a more stressful time or difficult situation and a nicer thank you really is in order. Someone visiting your elderly mother in the hospital or shoveling your walkway when there was an unexpected snowfall and you were away on vacation should be given a special thanks. If you stay at someone's home for the first time then a written thank you would be in order especially if they are not a close relative.

You would address the letter as you would call the person, if you know their name is Robert but everyone calls him Bob, then Bob it is. Dear is still the most common form of address in a letter but some people just can't get that down on paper and feel comfortable about it. If you are writing a letter to an elderly person then stick to the etiquette and start it with Dear, if you are writing to a contemporary then Hi or just starting with their first name would be fine. Think about how you want to sign off on you letters, love, all my love, thinking of you, sincerely, talk to you soon, etc, etc, are all acceptable. Thank you letters never have to be long but they should sound sincere.

It was such a relief when we returned home to see that the walk and drive were shoveled and we can not thank you enough for doing it. As you can imagine we were exhausted from our flight and seeing all that snow made our hearts plummet. It was such a wonderful surprise when we drove up saw that we would not have to pull on our snow boots and haul out the shovels as soon as we got home. It was so thoughtful of you and so appreciated by us.

Thanks again, Bob and Jane

Dear June,

When I went to see my mother in the hospital on Thursday she told me that you had visited and how delighted she was to see you. It was lovely that you saw her and it truly brightened my mother's day. As you can imagine we are all doing our best to make my mother feel comfortable at this time and your visit cheered her considerably. It was so kind of you.

Love, Susan


Dear Cousin Edward,

Thank you so much for letting me stay at your home on my way to New York. I was dreading spending an evening in a strange city. Your kindness made me feel right at home and gave me the rest and confidence I needed for the rest of my trip.

The dinner you made for us was wonderful and I think I now will be enjoying curry on a regular basis. I really enjoyed our conversation and you gave me much to think about. As soon as I am back home I will be looking up the books that you suggested.

Thank you once again for letting me stay in your home.

Sincerely, Paula

When writing a thank you for a kindness or a gift try to follow these simple rules.

1. Be specific about what you are thanking them about.

2. Write them about how this made you feel.

3.  Write them how this made your life easier (nicer, better).

4 . Complement them.

5. Thank them again at the end of the letter.

You can write much more than this but this would be the minimum you should write.

For the thank you of a gift, writing "Thank you for the gift, I really liked it," sounds like a 5 year old. Try to add more detail to the letter.

Dear Ruby,

Thank you so much for sending me such a beautiful shawl on my birthday!  The parcel actually arrived in the post the day before but Bob guessed that it was a gift put it out with the rest of my presents after dinner. It was quite exciting to see the parcel there and I could not guess what was inside. The shawl is exquisite and I know I will be wearing it constantly on cool summer evenings. You have such wonderful taste and I am so delighted with it. Thank you so much for thinking of me on my birthday.

All my love, Wendy


The party the other night went by so fast that I can't remember if I thank you enough for the amazing house plant you gave us. I have always wanted a large tropical plant and now with this new house we have the room for it. You chose perfectly, it looks stunning in the living room and we are so happy with it. You'll have to visit often to see how much it grows. Thanks so much for such a nice house warming present.

Macy and Bill

Technically with very formal letters a woman would never sign her husbands name at the bottom but infer in the letter that her husband had the same thoughts as she did about the gift but in an informal letter this is fine.

You would follow the same rules when sending a thank you letter for a dinner party

Dear Ian,

Dan and I would like to thank you for such an amazing dinner, it really was a treat. I felt so glamorous sitting out on your patio surrounded by all those candles. It made me feel like I was in a 5 star tropical resort. You out did your self with the food, I never knew that something from the barbecue could taste that amazing, Dan raved about it all the way home. It really was a memorable evening and thank you so much for inviting us.

With our love, Nancy and Dan 

Send  out your thank you letter as soon as you can but if time has passed don't just sit there feeling guilty about it, send it out anyway. In this day and age it is better to be late than not do it at all.

Have your stationery easily ready to write any notes or letters. (For more information on stationery read Making Stationery). It becomes much more of a chore if you have to dig up your stationery, find a pen that works, and go hunting for stamps. If everything is at a convenient location it's quicker and easier to do.

Everyone wants to be thanked and appreciated for their efforts and a heartfelt thank you note, no matter how brief, is a kind and gracious way to do this.

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